As we deal with the COVID-19 crisis and healthcare professionals scramble to meet the needs of patients in hospitals, nursing homes, clinics and medical offices in the cities and rural areas of our country, it is apparent why leaders, such as healthcare administrators, are in demand now more than ever. Our healthcare system is burdened, critical support is needed in many areas, and leaders are required to assemble and support care teams, and effectively deploy often scarce resources, to ensure that patients receive the best possible care.
Healthcare administration has never been more important than it is today. First, people throughout our society have health problems, many with multiple chronic diseases that cause pain, suffering and considerable expense to individuals, employers, insurers and governments. Second, we are spending nearly $4 trillion per year on health-related costs in the United States, and the costs are projected to keep rising. Healthcare experts believe that these costs are unsustainable, as they come at the expense of other vital needs in our society. Third, although we spend far more money on healthcare than any country in the world, we do not have the best health status or health outcomes or the longest life expectancy. So, we have major problems, stemming from multiple sources, that must be addressed, and this is where the healthcare administrators play a central role.
Healthcare administrators are leading the effort to transform healthcare — to make it more accessible to larger numbers of people, to make it more effective in delivering positive health outcomes, to link it to networks of community organizations in order to address social determinants of health, to adopt and implement the latest innovations, and to make it more efficient, both to save money and to ensure that every dollar spent provides the biggest possible impact. Healthcare organizations need qualified administrators to achieve these and many other goals, which is why the healthcare administration job outlook is very positive for new graduates.
Prospective healthcare administrators need the proper qualifications to enter the field and then advance in it. A combination of healthcare experience and higher education paves the way for career advancement into higher-level positions. And professionals who seek to develop the requisite knowledge and skills can pursue an online MHA from Suffolk University.
Before pursuing an online MHA, however, current and aspiring healthcare administrators should know more about why these professionals are in high demand.
A healthcare administrator’s job is exceptionally challenging. Administrators need to maintain and support the staff who serve the patients, while managing tight budgets and complying with a range of regulatory requirements.
The fast pace of medical innovation means that facilities, equipment, and employee skills must be regularly upgraded to enhance the quality of care. Healthcare administrators often need to perform these tasks across multiple facilities, along with raising funds for new projects and acting as public faces for their organizations.
Data from the American Hospital Association (AHA) and the Insurance Information Institute (III) indicate the layers of complexity of an administrator’s daily work. The AHA identified 6,146 hospitals as part of a 2020 hospital survey. Of this number, 3,491 hospitals were part of healthcare systems.
The AHA defines a system as “either a multihospital or a diversified single hospital system.” In this arrangement, administrators have to work with their counterparts in other hospitals to solve patient care and resource allocation challenges. This collaboration adds an additional layer of complexity to an administrator’s daily work.
The increasing complexity of the administrator’s role is actually a positive development for the healthcare administration job outlook, as the field becomes more specialized and requires more skilled candidates. The best administrators create policies and practices that enable their staff members to navigate complexities, while providing quality services to patients and managing resources. An online MHA from Suffolk University can help administrators understand best practices for healthcare leadership and success.
Strong Job Growth
The healthcare administration job outlook is strong. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected an 18% growth in health management jobs from 2018 to 2028. This growth rate far exceeds the 5% projection for all occupations and the 6% rate for all managerial positions in the United States.
As data analytics and electronic health records (EHRs) are more commonly used, demand will increase for healthcare administrators with experience in these areas. And with the changes taking place as a result of COVID-19, administrators will need even more knowledge and skills, such as in telehealth. Suffolk’s online MHA curriculum prepares students for these changing requirements for success.
Unique Skills Required
Healthcare administrators often start their careers specializing in program, project, or departmental management. To reach higher-level positions, however, healthcare administrators need to be comfortable with, and capable of, leading on dozens of strategic and operational issues. Online MHA programs hone the knowledge and skills required to manage these issues, while allowing healthcare administrators to remain on the job.
Administrators need to be solid multi-taskers and adaptable workers. The BLS provides an extensive list that illustrates the variety of tasks performed by healthcare administrators in a typical day:
- Evaluate patient censuses to determine care quality and efficiency
- Work with finance staff to evaluate billing procedures
- Consult with clinical and legal staff on compliance with quality and safety regulations
- Interview candidates for management positions
- Review sales pitches for new hospital equipment
Healthcare administrators may also be tasked with community outreach and fundraising, depending on the nature of their organizations. An administrator may present annual budgets and long-term initiative proposals to investors, board members, and other stakeholders. Hospital administrators with legal backgrounds may reach out to community groups or city and county officials as part of new construction projects. Healthcare systems and hospitals often sponsor community events, requiring staff presence to show commitment to the people they serve.
Individuals who land an initial or higher-level administrative job may be skilled in one or two of these areas. Many top healthcare administrators move from analyzing data to meeting and greeting key stakeholders without much effort. Suffolk University connects each of its online MHA students with healthcare professionals to provide clear pictures of the demanding jobs available in healthcare as well as their skill requirements.
Healthcare Administration Job Outlook and Benefits
Healthcare administrators receive competitive salaries for taking on all of the challenges discussed above. The BLS reported a median salary of $99,730 in 2018, more than double the $38,640 median salary for professionals in the United States. PayScale calculated that hospital administrators in the 90th percentile of earners received an average salary of $167,000.
This occupation is also high in rankings of the best occupations in America. U.S. News & World Report placed medical and health services managers at No. 5 in Best Business Jobs and No. 25 in Best Paying Jobs. These ranks were mainly achieved through high grades for salary (7.8 out of 10) and job market (8 out of 10). As of May 2020, PayScale’s job satisfaction rating for administrators was 4.2 out of 5 stars, for a Highly Satisfied rating.
Professionals who want to earn these benefits need education and training in healthcare administration. The online MHA from Suffolk University enables students to develop extensive knowledge and skills on critical topics in the field:
- evidence-based management
- operations and performance improvement
- data analytics
- strategic management
- change management
With an MHA in hand, a graduate can find a successful career in the large and ever-growing field of healthcare.
Get the knowledge you need to be an effective leader in the healthcare industry with an online MHA from Suffolk University.